How WeTransfer unifies Identity for its global community of more than 80 million people


as fast to launch social logins for 80 million average monthly active users across the platform

“As we grow and innovate, we are constantly looking to further integrate our products' functionalities in the most seamless and secure way. Implementing a centralized user identity is fundamental for how we build new features and solve problems for our users.”

Martijn Vermaat, Director of Engineering, Core Services and Platform

Every month, creatives in 190 countries use WeTransfer’s platform to send and exchange billions of files. Having made its name in the game of quick and simple file-sharing, WeTransfer has grown into a global distribution and collaboration platform with 80 million average monthly active users, spanning professionals and businesses. WeTransfer’s set of tools are designed to enable creative professionals to share, review, and distribute their work – with an audience from one to many.

“People expect to be able to use one account to access all of the products that a multi-product company offers these days,” says Director of Engineering, Core Services and Platform Martijn Vermaat. “We consciously sought for a unified way to communicate with our users from a marketing perspective, which is hard to do when a user has a unique identity on each product.”

A focus on core product leads WeTransfer to external solutions

For WeTransfer, unifying its approach to Identity helps in two distinct ways: improving their customers’ ability to use all of its features without breaking their workflow and keeping important data even more secure.

“Creatives use WeTransfer to share important work with their clients and teams, and they need to do so securely. Initially, we built multi-factor authentication (MFA) in from scratch,” Vermaat explains. “But to make it work across the platform in the long-term, we would have had to implement it from scratch at least two more times and then work to maintain those systems in three different places.”

WeTransfer considered building a centralised identity management system in-house. However, from experience partnering with technology vendors like AWS for their cloud infrastructure, WeTransfer decided their development resources would be better utilised on the technology that differentiates them from their competitors. “For foundational pillars like authentication, we have a default buy-over-build strategy,” says Vermaat.

WeTransfer implements social logins for millions of users in three months

WeTransfer compared Identity providers on the market and chose Auth0, the technology that now powers the Okta Customer Identity Cloud, because “it came with batteries included,” offering all the necessary features and functionality needed out of the box. WeTransfer also cited its developer-friendliness as a key factor. “Their approach really resonated with our development team — the documentation for developers was first class, and there were plans ready to take us through the entire implementation,” says Vermaat.

WeTransfer worked with Customer Identity Cloud’s Professional Services team to integrate their Identity systems, launching social logins to an audience of 80 million average monthly active users across all products in "half" the time they would have needed to build its own system. “It took about three to four months from signing the contract to launching to end-users,” says Vermaat. “If we had tried to implement a centralised authentication system ourselves, it would have taken much longer.”

Now, whenever WeTransfer’s users log into any of their products, their identities are automatically migrated and merged into a single, secure database. “When a user logs in, we check each of our databases for their credentials,” says Vermaat. “If there is any overlap, we merge their details and create a new user.” And by setting up Rules, WeTransfer can customise their use case for tasks like normalising user profiles coming in from different social providers.

Centralised Identity increases WeTransfer’s freemium conversion rate

Just one month after launching social logins to customers, the number of users that created a free account for WeTransfer’s products instead of using their products anonymously has increased considerably. “We provide sign-in with Google, Apple, and Slack. And offering the ability to sign in with Google has significantly increased our conversion rate for our users that create an account for added value,” says Vermaat.

The Customer Identity Cloud platform has also centralised the implementation of security features, including Brute Force Protection and MFA, for each of WeTransfer’s products, which simplified the work required to assure their customers that their data is secure. “Instead of implementing these features multiple times, we can now turn them on across our products from the dashboard.”

Most importantly, centralising and simplifying user Identity has helped WeTransfer to expand the ways they can help the global creative community they serve. “As we grow and innovate, we are constantly looking to further integrate our products' functionalities in the most seamless and secure way, which would be hard to do without unified identities,” says Vermaat. “ Implementing a centralised user identity is fundamental for how we build new features and solve problems for our users.”

About Customer

WeTransfer streamlines the workflow process for millions of creative professionals. Its ecosystem of creative productivity tools makes it easy to share, review and distribute content globally. WeTransfer has more than 80 million monthly active users in 190 countries. As a certified B Corporation™, WeTransfer has long been a champion of using business as a force for good. Since its founding in 2009, WeTransfer has donated up to 30% of its advertising space to social causes and it also launched the Supporting Act Foundation to support emerging creative talent through funding and grants.